The Collective Unconscious, Christ, and the Covenant | Russell Brand | EP 444

The Collective Unconscious, Christ, and the Covenant | Russell Brand | EP 444

Coming up (00:00:00)

  • The speaker introduces the topic of the discussion, which is about the collective unconscious, Christ, and the covenant.
  • The speaker mentions that the discussion will touch upon political aspects and the idea of a Call to Arms.

Intro (00:00:27)

  • The speaker introduces Russell Brand and expresses excitement about continuing their conversation.
  • The speaker outlines the topics they will discuss, including the collective unconscious, sacrifice, authority, power, logos, the danger of power, the necessity of stories, personal experiences, the proclivity of the modern self, the idea of something supplanting the self for maturation and societal stability, the Call to Adventure, and the burden left by Christ.

Statistical regularities and the language of symbols (00:02:12)

  • The speaker proposes a definition of the collective unconscious based on statistical regularities and the language of symbols.
  • The speaker explains how large language models map the statistical relationships between words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs.
  • The speaker suggests that the collective unconscious can be understood as the statistical association between ideas within a culture, which can be mathematically mapped.
  • Symbols are seen as sets of statistically associated concepts, particularly image-laden concepts.
  • The collective unconscious is described as a system of weights between concepts that shapes how we perceive the world.
  • This definition gives symbols a tangible reality as networks of ideas with core concepts at their centers.

What makes something real? (00:06:26)

  • The difference between signifiers and symbols.
  • The silhouette of a bird traveling in one direction signifies death and any creature that didn't respond to that silhouette was at a much higher probability of being picked off.
  • Statistical relationships between concepts are not just arbitrary cultural constructions, but patterns of relationships between events that are part and parcel of the world per se.
  • Ideas that ring most true to us and grip us in an archetypal way are ideas that bear directly on our survival.

The necessity of sacrifice through the lens of the Bible (00:10:12)

  • Sacrifice means giving up something desirable for something more desirable that extends over a longer period of time and includes more people.
  • Sacrifice is the basis of community as it establishes and maintains relationships.
  • The most effective form of sacrifice is examined in the biblical story, which is an attempt to spiral down to the core of what constitutes the maximally effective and acceptable sacrifice to God.
  • Sacrifice is identical to cortical maturation as both are necessary for community and personal growth.

Chaos, the collective unconscious, and the covenant (00:12:28)

  • The collective unconscious, as described by Jung, is a reservoir of shared human experiences and knowledge that transcends individual consciousness. Patterns emerging within chaos, like those observed in AI models, can be seen as analogous to the collective unconscious.
  • Sacrifice is a recurring theme in the Bible and in Jordan Peterson's work, representing the process of integrating modes of attention and action for long-term survival and inclusion in complex social communities.
  • The ultimate sacrifice in the New Testament, represented by the image of Christ, addresses the complex idea of the pact made by the sacrifice of the man-God.
  • The nature of the pact between God and humanity is irresolvable because it involves absolute dominion and omnipotence, leading to the conclusion that it must be a covenant originating from the same Source.
  • Work is a sacrificial enterprise that involves integrating modes of attention and action for long-term survival and inclusion in complex social communities.
  • Money is seen as a form of contract within a community, where time and effort are invested with the expectation of future value. The community that this contract is made with is based on a certain ethic, such as the rejection of envy and the protection of stored value.

Abram, the relevance of his name, and Christ (00:19:34)

  • The story of Abraham represents a contract with the future, where the viability of the contract depends on an underlying ethos.
  • God offers Abraham a covenant, promising blessings and a lasting legacy in exchange for sacrifices and following the spirit of adventure.
  • Abraham's journey involves challenges, sacrifices, and personal growth, symbolized by a new name.
  • The ultimate sacrifice of his son, Isaac, represents offering everything to the highest calling.
  • The story of Abraham's sacrifice mirrors the sacrifice of Christ in the New Testament, highlighting an inversion of the principle.
  • The endowment of spirit and the spirit of adventure is seen as the maximal principle of a great father.
  • Conservatism versus progressivism is seen as a necessary cultural tension.
  • Detractors often use the term "patriarchy" to describe certain cultural relationships.
  • The impossibility of achieving equality within the current patriarchal framing is questioned.
  • A true expression of the divine feminine would require a different paradigm.
  • AI can be seen as a conglomerate that maps onto our understanding of the collective unconscious, with archetypes emerging from it.

The evolution of theology, what Acts offers (00:27:25)

  • Acts offers a sense of urgency and a call to arms for Christianity.
  • Acts feels overtly and literally political, unlike the Old Testament.
  • Richard Dawkins' statement "I am culturally Christian" suggests that Christianity is still a living thing.
  • Bishop Barron's discussion of ethereal angels aligns religion with quantum physics.
  • The speaker questions whether reality is something we conjure as vessels of the Divine.
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The golden calf and the worship of pride (00:32:35)

  • In Moses' absence, Aaron becomes the political leader, but without prophetic guidance, the Israelites succumb to immediate hedonism and materialism, symbolized by the worship of the golden calf.
  • This descent into self-gratification represents the dominance of immature instincts and the failure to understand the true nature of the self.
  • Mere instinctual self-gratification cannot sustain a community, hence the need for communal organization and sacrifices that come with maturity.
  • Christ's insistence that those he leaves behind will do greater works than him highlights the oversimplification of faith in Protestantism, which reduces it to merely saying "Lord."
  • The biblical text suggests that those left after the Resurrection will be called to do greater things than Christ himself, considering the nature of his sacrifice.
  • We are called upon to fully participate in this process, or else there will be consequences.

A pushback on pride as the example of hedonism (00:39:30)

  • The author suggests that using Pride as an example of hedonism is not an effective argument.
  • Pride has explicit connotations when it comes to human sexuality, which can be a disadvantage in certain discussions.
  • An alternative example of hedonism and indulgence could be used without such connotations.

Hedonism as a god, why the self cannot spiritually govern (00:39:58)

  • The self is not static but rather an evolving event discovered in relationships. Refusing to accept maturation and responsibility leads to defaulting to instincts and cultural influences.
  • Religious faith, spirituality, morality, and ethics should serve to manage our instincts, designs, and desire for power. Personal conduct should demonstrate joy, open-heartedness, good faith, and the ability to discern value in emerging ideas.
  • Russell Brand believes there is a collective unconscious that connects all of us and that we should be open to finding solutions to problems. He suggests that we should recognize the truth in what our detractors say and acknowledge the accuracy of their statements.
  • Brand encourages us to avoid using Pride as the sole example of indulgence and recognize that heterosexual and normative behaviors can also lead to excessive indulgence and a sense of being lost.
  • He emphasizes the importance of finding a beneficial pathway through challenges and stresses the need for businesses to manage their workload efficiently to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

What the Postmodernists got right and where they went terribly wrong (00:47:47)

  • Postmodernists assert that we perceive the world through narratives.
  • The postmodern left's view of the world as solely a battleground of power is extreme and dangerous.
  • Moses, a prominent leader in the Old Testament, often resorted to using power instead of invitation, leading to his downfall.
  • Leaders should avoid using force when invitation is possible, as illustrated by Moses' story.
  • The left's critique of patriarchy as solely based on force oversimplifies human society and relationships.
  • The collective unconscious, a concept in psychology, refers to shared memories, ideas, and symbols common to all humans.
  • Christ symbolizes hope and redemption, inspiring individuals to overcome self-interest and work for the common good.
  • The covenant represents a promise between God and humanity, offering salvation and forgiveness.

The third temptation of Christ, the fundamental landscape (00:54:01)

  • Christ's life is the antithesis of power.
  • Christ constantly refused to use force.
  • Christ's power is in self-sacrifice, action, and the refusal to implement force.
  • The fundamental landscape is good and evil, with tyranny and slavery on top.
  • The solution to tyranny and slavery is not for the slaves to become tyrants.
  • In the capitalist world, people play out the slave-tyrant dichotomy.
  • Restructuring the entire economic system is not the solution to slavery.
  • People are slaves to their own whims and desires.
  • Releasing the monsters within oneself through revolution would be disastrous.
  • The solution to the slave/tyrant dichotomy is not political revolution.
  • Christ refused to play the role of a political revolutionary.
  • The way out of the slave/tyrant dichotomy is to stop being a slave.
  • Voluntary service to a higher good is the pathway of maturation.
  • Moses tells the Israelites to establish a particular kind of relationship with God outside the tyranny in the wilderness.
  • Each person has the responsibility to take on the existential burden of existence voluntarily and become a locus of authority and responsibility.
  • Abdicating this responsibility to the tyrant is not fundamentally a political problem, but it has political ramifications.
  • There is a negotiation between the individual and the collective.
  • This negotiation involves power.
  • Moses carries out a political negotiation against the Pharaoh as the head of a tribe.
  • Christ carries out a negotiation as an emissary alone in the desert.
  • The desert is a parallel to the adversarial nature of combat.
  • The negotiation is operating as a library and a progressive discourse that is deliberately trying to induce a state.
  • The states being described are the father and the mother roles.
  • The duty is to revive ancestral greatness and incline towards it.
  • The power of logos impacts reality differently than force.

The consequence of using words properly and carefully (01:04:46)

  • Russell Brand discusses the concept of the collective unconscious and its relation to language, identity, and responsibility.
  • He emphasizes the importance of using words carefully and intentionally to create community and unity.
  • Brand believes that words have the power to instantiate and realize inherent connections and potentiality within individuals and society.
  • He describes his own experience of effortless communication when in a receptive state, acting as a vessel for the flow of instincts and patterns.
  • Brand identifies the battleground as the inculcation of the ego and the need to overcome the receptive pole rather than external stimulants.
  • He highlights the distinction between the use of the staff (logos) and active awareness in making oneself present and aware.
  • The sacred mother is petitioned to convey a prayer for forgiveness to her son, the god, not for the individual but for the collective as a member of the flock.
  • Overcoming the appearances of identity and self-adornment is necessary, and the present moment is the only place where this overcoming can occur.
  • The message of Christ is the absolute refusal to use force, allowing the higher will to be engaged.

Grace, suffering, acceptance: Is this the will of God? (01:12:10)

  • The speaker questions Jordan Peterson's perspective on suffering and God's will.
  • He suggests that the opposite of faith is certainty, not doubt.
  • Living in uncertainty with grace is the ongoing challenge.
  • Language may illustrate connections and patterns that point to a deeper truth.
  • The speaker introduces the concept of the collective unconscious, a shared reservoir of human experience and knowledge.
  • Christ is seen as a symbol of the collective unconscious, representing the potential for transformation and transcendence.
  • The covenant refers to the relationship between God and humanity, and the idea that humans can participate in the divine through faith and acceptance.
  • Language is a tool for exploring and expressing the divine, but it can also be limiting.
  • The speaker suggests that the success of language may be due to its ability to capture the essence of truth.
  • The jagged consonants, flowing vowels, and linguistic grace of language may point to a deeper reality.

Why so many public intellectuals are coming back to Christ (01:13:31)

  • Russell Brand's personal journey from hedonism to mysticism has led him to recognize Christian elements in his experiences, similar to other public figures who acknowledge the growing presence of Christian aspects within mysticism.
  • Brand's exploration of mysticism aligns with Joseph Campbell's idea of exploring native ideology and theology, rediscovering Christianity as something that has always been present but felt parochial and ordinary in the past.
  • The texts, particularly the Bible and the figure of Christ, induce states beyond literal interpretation, inviting a deeper connection.
  • Brand discusses the concept of the collective unconscious and its relation to addiction, spirituality, and the 12-step program, influenced by Carl Jung and early Christianity, which emphasizes surrendering the self to a higher power.
  • He draws a connection between the rise of pornography and the encroachment of the environment, suggesting that the current cultural context may contribute to addictive behaviors.
  • Brand emphasizes the importance of personal experience and testimony in understanding the impact of addiction and the value of seeking spiritual guidance.

Huxley’s hell and the coming societal turn to what’s highest (01:23:44)

  • Russell Brand discusses the societal shift towards benevolent tyranny and the terrifying nature of Kafkaesque bureaucratic control.
  • He compares Huxley's hell to Orwell's, expressing greater fear of the former due to its insidious and invisible nature.
  • Brand suggests the existence of ulterior forces at work, citing his personal experience of being celebrated for hedonism but facing opposition when advocating for spirituality.
  • He emphasizes the transformative impact of his son's illness on his family dynamics and his subsequent spiritual journey.
  • Brand recommends reading "The Sacred and the Profane" by Mircea Eliade, describing it as a profound and influential book.

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